Collecting Fine Art Photography

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Slowly but steadily, fine art photography is gaining in popularity among collectors globally. It is a particularly thrilling time for prospective collectors to own great art at a lower price. Although market prices for fine art photography have shown a gradual rise in recent years, buying  works in this medium is still a great opportunity in terms of money. 

Great art is great art whatever the medium, but it needs exposure for success. Luckily, more and more museums and fine art galleries give attention to fine art photography, which increases its exposure, and consequently encouraging demand from collectors. And the demand is now global. Photography is a language that everyone can understand and with its growing popularity worldwide the number of people who want to try their luck in building an art collection for a smaller amount of money is growing too. 

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Collecting photography very much implies the application of the same rules as those for collecting any other art form. That said, it is important to figure out your own motives at the very beginning, to define your tastes, and have a plan. All the while, know as much as everything you can about what you want to collect, about the market and the art scene. However, there are certain peculiarities when collecting photography that should be kept in mind if you wish to get value for money. 

We have already mentioned how important is the role of museums and galleries in promoting new photographers and creating a demand. One of the most common factors that affect the market value of the artist are his or her exhibitions and awards. Are their works already part of the museum and private collections? Which collections? Therefore, prospective collectors should consider this information as an important element in their selection.  Of course, this certainly should not be the decisive factor, but the real appeal of the artwork. One of the advantages of an anonymous work is that it forces us to focus on the work itself and not on the name. 

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Another important factor that determines the value is the rarity of an image. How many prints were in the edition, is it sold out? The difference in type and quality of print is also something worth considering if you’re thinking of starting a photography collection. For example, platinum prints often sell better than silver prints. A serious collector of fine art photography should also be taking into account that photographs can degrade. Color prints, especially those made before 1990s, have stability problems and require special care when stored or displayed.  Black and white prints, on the other hand, seem to be more stable as long as you keep them out of the light. 

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As you may see, there are a number of things that  should be considered when exploring and collecting fine art photography. They should be viewed as beginner’s tools though because nothing can help you become a serious collector except a real experience and long-term learning. Finally, photography is a subjective experience as any other art so  evaluating and determining the collectability of a photograph largely depends on the preferences of the viewer.